The Great Kapok Tree

Name: Diana Pyatigorsky                                                     

Subject: Science

Lesson Title: The Great Kapok Tree

Grade: Second


  • The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
  • Journal Paper
  • Rainforest music

Pre-assessment of Students Knowledge & Skills: (A) Students have been immersed in a unit on plant diversity and their needs. Students have explored the basic needs of plants such as light, air, water, soil and nutrients but are lacking knowledge in the independence of all living things.

(B)Students were able to accurately describe the components of a rainforest. They completed a K-W-L Chart on and used several resources to develop knowledge.

Content-Specific Standard(s):


Standard 1: Plant Diversity

Identify the basic needs of plants: light, air, water, soil and nutrients.

Observe that plants respond to changes in their environment.

English Language Arts

SL.1.1. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

SL.1.4. Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

SL.1.5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Social Studies

People, Places, and Environments:

The complex relationship between human beings and the environments within which they live and work.

The Arts

Standard 1: Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts Students will actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts (dance, music, theater, and visual arts) and participate in various roles in the arts.


Students will identify plants and animals that live in the rainforest.

Students will be able to state reasons that the rainforest is important to all living things.


a)      Introduction and motivation. 5 min:

“Students, we have traveled to the rainforest and learned about what we may find there. Today we are going to learn how all the living things in the rainforest depend on each other to survive.”

Read Aloud of The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

b) Activities/Steps –

Direct instruction 15 min: Teacher will ‘think aloud” the events of the book, charting all characters. Students will discuss reasons why the animals didn’t want the tree to be cut down. Teacher will lead class discussion about the negative effects of losing the tree.

Work Time 20 min: Teacher puts on soft rainforest music.

Students will make a journal entry where they list and illustrate the reasons the animals gave for not cutting down the Kapok trees, including labels and detail descriptions.

Closure 10 min: Students will share-out their journal entries.

Assessment: Teacher will assess understanding during conference time and during the share. Ask follow up questions if students are not confident with their explanations. Students will be assessed for their activity participation, their participation as audience members and their working material. Student project work will be reviewed against the rubric below.

Diversity: This lesson continues the work of opening a window into different modalities of learning such as Collaborative and Flexible grouping, scaffolding, varied time allowance, multiple intelligences, varied demonstrations, simulations, use of visuals and role play.


“A hands-on activity supports students who struggle with verbal skills” (Cornett, 2011). Using visual and tactile skills, students that struggle with writing are able to use the images to show that they understand the content. This lesson also supports concreteness of the topic with the use of pictures, labels and names


Kapok Tree Rubric

Illustration Construction


Illustration is extremely attractive. Many different colors were used


Illustration is attractive. Some different colors were used.


Illustration is attractive. Very few colors were used.


Illustration is poorly made. Almost no color used.

Written Message


The sentences include a thorough message. Punctuation used correctly


The sentences include a good message. Punctuation is often used correctly


The sentences include a fair message. Punctuation is used correctly sometimes


The sentences include very little information or message. Punctuation is not used correctly.

Quality and Effort


Student’s work displays high quality and put forth great effort


Student put forth some effort.


Student puts forth little effort.


No effort put into project and lack of quality.


Student Work: Illustration Rubric

Illustration Concept






Uses 4 or more colors Uses 2 to 3 colors Uses 0 or 1 color No use of color


Both ground and sky Either sky or ground No background No background


4 or more additional details 2 to 3 additional details 0 or 1 additional detail No details

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